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French arts festival kicks off in Beijing

By Hu Zhe and Lance Crayon | | Updated: 2013-04-12 09:42

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On April 10, the 8th annual Croisements Festival got underway at the French embassy in Beijing with a press conference to launch the three-month event.

Since its inception, the festival has grown into the largest French cultural festival abroad and the biggest foreign festival in China.

This year's festival will be the largest since it started eight years ago. It will offer to the public 77 events, with some 160 performances in 23 cities throughout China. The cultural events will feature art performances and exhibitions in areas such as music, dance, theatre, literature and even circus performing.

The three-month long festival will end on July 3.

French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann, French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, and Chinese composer Chen Qigang answered questions from Chinese journalists on the relationship between the two countries.

At the press conference, Ambassador Bermann spoke about French President Francois Hollande's upcoming trip to China. She said he will be the first leader from a European Union country to visit China since the country's new leadership was established.

She emphasized that his visit would reaffirm the importance of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France, and added that the French president will make a special visit to one of China's top universities.

The ambassador also talked about the mutual influence China and France have had on each other throughout history, especially in the fields of philosophy and systems.

"In ancient times the French who came to China were priests, but they didn't do any proselytizing, on the contrary, they absorbed Chinese ideas and in return they had an influence on the philosophers of the French Enlightenment age", said the ambassador.

In terms of systems, She gave the example of France adopting China's Imperial Examination system and the National Civil Service Examination system.

Also in attendance was French director and Academy Award winner Jean-Jacques Annaud who spoke about his upcoming film "Wolf Totem," an adaptation of the Chinese best-selling novel of the same title.

Chinese musician and composer Chen Qigang even had the opportunity to share his observations on some of the similarities he's noticed between the Chinese and French.

"There are a lot of similarities between Chinese and French culture. Actually Asian culture and European culture are quite different. There is only one country in Europe where people cross the roads like the Chinese do, that means they cross the pedestrian lines anytime they want," Chen Qigang said.

"Because people for these two countries, they are longing for the same thing, freedom," Chen said.

Reporter and subtitles: Hu Zhe

Videographer and edtior: Lance Crayon

Voiceover: Lance Crayon

Producer: Meggie Feng

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